Prosecutor: Chisox’ Belle Lost Bets
CLEVELAND (AP) _ Chicago White Sox slugger Albert Belle lost as much $300,000 gambling with two men in Cleveland during a two-year period while he was playing with the Indians, a prosecutor said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney James V. Moroney disclosed Belle’s gambling during a sentencing hearing Tuesday for Nicholas J. Zambataro, 37, of Garfield Heights, and Michael Kling, 30, of Westlake.
The former Indians slugger left Cleveland after the 1996 season to sign with the White Sox.
Zambataro and Kling, golfing buddies of Belle’s, each received a one-month sentence, two years of probation and a fine of $3,000 for failing to report gambling income from Belle on federal income tax returns.
Under questioning by U.S. District Judge David D. Dowd Jr., Moroney said Zambataro received $150,000 to $200,000 from Belle, and Kling received about $100,000.
Under a plea agreement, Zambataro and Kling pleaded guilty only to charges dealing with gambling with Belle in 1995, not the entire $300,000. Belle estimated he lost $75,000 to $80,000 to Kling in 1995, Moroney said.
Belle’s agent, Arn Tellem, did not return telephone calls seeking comment on Wednesday.
Belle’s gambling first came to light in a deposition in an unrelated civil lawsuit last year in which he said he had lost as much as $40,000 betting on professional football and college basketball.